If you haven’t heard about Florida’s recent overhaul of their standardized testing, we think it’s important to know that among the various changes being made, a prominent addition is the requirement of online testing. Florida is not the first‒nor will it be the last‒to move a significant percentage of its testing to an online format. In 2021, Texas enacted a bill requiring state assessments to be administered online by the 2022-2023 school year. After a three-year hiatus from online testing due to a massive technological failure, Tennessee returned to computer-based assessments in the 2021-2022 school year. The states who have not yet converted to online testing can’t be far behind.
Why Are States Switching To Online Testing
The use of online testing has a variety of benefits. These benefits include access to immediate test results, less time needed to administer ( time-saving equals money-saving) element, and it is easier to analyze and compare results data in a digital format. However, one of the big advantages of online assessments is that it allows for adaptive testing.
Online adaptive testing is designed to individualize the testing experience for students. The test algorithm determines students’ abilities based on how they respond to questions and adapts the test questions to their level. This tailors the testing experience to each student in order to find the balance of “not-too-hard, not-too-easy”, which any teacher will confirm is a difficult balance to strike in a classroom of highly diverse and individual students.
There is little doubt that most‒if not all‒schools in the US will eventually require some level of online testing. Because of this shift to online testing, the need for an effective typing curriculum at the elementary level is greater than ever.
How Keyboarding Proficiency Improves Test Scores
Learning to type has shown to be beneficial to students in a variety of ways. It improves dexterity, engages various cognitive aspects of a child’s brain, improves writing skills, and prepares them for a future career in a tech-heavy world. But now more than ever, typing is essential for students to be successful in school.
“Early and consistent exposure to keyboarding tools and practice has a notable impact on students’ performance and test scores in computer-based assessments.”– Learning.com
The benefits of online testing are entirely lost to a student who is not comfortable and competent using a keyboard. A student who cannot type proficiently will waste time struggling to type their answers rather than actually contemplating and answering questions. This frustration can increase their test anxiety and cause them to run out of time before completing the assessment. When typing isn’t second-nature, a lot of cognitive energy is spent trying to type, which doesn’t accurately record the student’s level of understanding of the subject, causing test scores to be inaccurate.
Early and consistent keyboarding practice will help students avoid these obstacles as states switch over to online testing. But learning to type helps students actively learn more, helping them do better on their assessments in other ways. Keyboarding teaches students literacy and writing skills. It makes expressing their thoughts and ideas easier. It helps them feel empowered and capable. It gives them practice with reading, comprehension, and even basic mathematics and problem-solving.
What If My State Doesn’t Require Online Testing Yet?
We think that most states will make the switch to online testing in the next few years. Online tests are just too convenient and too economic for states not to. The quality of online adaptive testing is continuing to improve and they are being used for just about every subject, from English to Science to Math. As online testing becomes more prevalent in schools, students need to be provided with the preparation and tools necessary to succeed.
Even if your state has not switched over to online testing yet, it’s smart to prepare your students now. Giving them a headstart on their keyboarding skills prepares them for a lifetime of success in every classroom, every subject, and every job they will have in the future. If students are taught keyboarding before online testing begins, there is no rush to get your young students up-to-speed in a short period of time.
Give your students a head start in school, and in life, by teaching them the life-long skill of keyboarding while they are young.
Aldrich, M. W. (2021, July 27). Tennessee will transition back to online standardized testing, beginning with high school students. Chalkbeat Tennessee. Retrieved July 22, 2022, from https://tn.chalkbeat.org/2021/7/27/22596044/tennessee-high-schoolers-start-return-online-testing
Crabtree, A. (n.d.). What are adaptive assessments? why do they seem so difficult? Creators of i-Ready. Retrieved July 22, 2022, from https://www.curriculumassociates.com/blog/what-are-adaptive-assessments
Education, A. P. (2020, November 2). Pros and cons of computerized adaptive testing. A Pass Educational Group LLC. Retrieved July 22, 2022, from https://apasseducation.com/education-blog/pros-and-cons-of-computerized-adaptive-testing/
Home. Florida Education Association. (n.d.). Retrieved July 22, 2022, from https://feaweb.org/fsa-transition-to-fast/
How touch typing is an essential skill all children should learn. FunTech Blog. (2019, June 19). Retrieved July 22, 2022, from https://funtech.co.uk/latest/how-touch-typing-is-an-essential-skill-all-children-should-learn
Team, L. (2021, November 30). The importance of keyboarding for students. Learning. Retrieved July 22, 2022, from https://www.learning.com/blog/the-importance-of-keyboarding-for-students/
Texas Education Agency. (2021, November 2). 2022–2023 transition to online and other State Summative Assessment Redesign Resources. Texas Education Agency. Retrieved July 22, 2022, from https://tea.texas.gov/about-tea/news-and-multimedia/correspondence/taa-letters/2022-2023-transition-to-online-and-other-state-summative-assessment-redesign-resources